Zane Johnson, Hawaii- Standing at 6'6, Johnson is a smooth jump shooter who can make baskets over opposing defenses. He is a specialist three point shooter that is able to break free by moving without the ball. When he receives it, he is capable as a catch-and-shoot player, but he can square his body for shots off the dribble as well. Defensively, Johnson has displayed some flashes as a help defender, but his efforts have not been particularly noteworthy.
Will Barton, Memphis- After not fully living up to expectations early in the season, Barton is beginning to come into his own at this juncture. If one were to characterize his game, one would describe him as a lengthy wing who is adept at attacking the basket or scoring off of open perimeter jumpers. While his outside shot has not been effective early in the year- he is shooting 29% from behind the arc- Barton has continued to shoot in spite of his inconsistency in this area. One improvement- from his Prep days- that Barton has demonstrated is his willingness to defer to teammates. Previously, Barton had looked for his own shot, often at the expense of his team. However, he is now willing to make the proper pass in transition so that his teammates can benefit. While he has improved in this area, he will need to cut down on his turnovers- still, this is not an alarming concern given the fact that he is transitioning to the college game. Defensively, Barton's length can be disruptive, particularly in the passing lanes. But, like many freshman, he tends to over commit. When this happens, the offensive player is often able to either draw the foul or blow by Barton for an easy layup. All in all, Barton must hit the weight room so that he is better equipped to finish through contact and hold his ground on the defensive end. Memphis's conditioning programs should enable Barton to become one of the most dynamic scorers in the nation, if he is willing to stay for another season.
Quincy Acy, Baylor- In his matchup with Washington St., Acy demonstrated just how much he has improved from his sophomore year. He was absolutely dominant on the glass and collected 6 offensive rebounds. Baylor relied on his rebounding in order to remain close in this game. Throughout the first half, Baylor's perimeter players would hoist jumpers and watch as Acy put back their misses with some difficult, contested layups. While Acy predominantly relies on his athleticism to score inside, he has added some crafty pivot and reverse pivot post moves to his arsenal. On the defensive end, Acy thrives as well, employing his unique length to contest just about anything that comes close to the rim. Not only is he adept at blocking shots, but he also can steal the ball on occasion. Despite the signs that he displayed earlier in his career, scouts were not fully intrigued because of his physical profile. However, while he may be somewhat undersized for a forward at 6'7, Acy possesses a quick leaping ability and tremendous length, which will allow him to compensate at the next level. In order to play professionally, though, he will have to continue to refine his perimeter jumper and add weight so that he can better hold post position.
Darius Morris, Michigan- Morris is an improving young point guard that really is one of the best passers in the country. He has a knack for hitting his man- whether that entails driving and dishing for an open 3 or a rap-around pass inside, he is more than capable of finding his teammates at the right moments. Standing at a solid 6'4, Morris has NBA lead guard potential. Not only does he have the vision of an elite college point guard, but he also is capable of knocking down three point buckets. In this contest against Bryant University, he caught fire when left open and ended up hitting 4 of 6 shots from beyond the arc. While he is clearly able to hit open shots in rhythm, he must become more consistent in this area if he hopes to have a career in the NBA down the road. His game may actually be more conducive to the professional level because of the wider spacing, which could open up his outside game. Defensively, Morris is also fairly aggressive and capable of defending his man on the perimeter. However, it is difficult to fully gauge how well Morris would defend at the next level due to Beilein's 1-3-1 zone, which is not commonly seen in the NBA. All in all, Morris is one of the most exciting young point guards in the country, and he most assuredly will receive some looks from scouts from now until the moment he decides to enter the NBA draft.
Frankie Dobbs, Bryant University- Dobbs is one of the more composed mid major point guards playing for a losing team. While Bryant's entire squad fought valiantly against Michigan, Dobbs- in particular- demonstrated his all around ability to lead. While he was limited shooting the ball from the floor- and consequently only shot 5 three point attempts- Dobbs played within himself and was able to distribute the ball to his teammates. While he is not especially creative, his court vision involves dribble penetration and normally facilitates offense for his teammates. He does turn the ball over at a fairly high rate, but this is largely because he is one of the few players on Bryant's team that can create his own offense. Additionally, Dobbs is an accurate 3 point shooter that can hit difficult shots when called upon. Defensively, Dobbs is pesky, but he must do a better job fighting through screens. In general, he has been impressive this season, but he must continue to become a better decision maker in order to lead this unproven Bryant squad to recognition within its conference, and nationally.
Alex Francis, Bryant University- Standing at 6'6, Francis is an excellent young athlete who is a consummate scorer, and one of the more promising mid major freshman. In this contest, Francis was able to attack the basket utilizing a series of shot and head fakes to get his shot off amongst Michigan's big men. While his first step is not blindingly fast, it is effective in combination with his stop and go moves. Francis tends to adjust his shots mid-air when attacking the basket, rather than settling for the jump shot. This will have to change, however, if he hopes to play at any professional level. While his shooting form does seem effective at this stage, he must extend his range eventually. Even though he did not display his jump shot regularly, it could have been because he was playing opportunistically, taking advantage of Michigan's weak interior defense. Defensively, Francis was fairly effective- playing physical post defense and fighting for position. Overall, Francis is a talent that merits further consideration down the road if he can improve upon his jump shooting and demonstrate an ability to play perimeter defense.
Lazeric Jones, UCLA- Jones is the smooth point guard that has been key to UCLA's success this season. While this JUCO transfer had difficulty adjusting earlier in the year, it seems as though he is now beginning to come into his own. In this contest, he distributed the ball to his teammates after penetrating in the lane. In addition to his passing, Jones has been an effective outside shooting threat all season long, connecting on nearly 41% of his shots from beyond the arc. Jones is smooth in transition, and is much more capable on defense than UCLA's point guards the last two years. While he has been fairly efficient so far, it can be said that his professional potential is limited due to his height (at 6'0).
Darren Moore, UC Irvine- Despite facing the most storied program on the West Coast, Moore failed to back down throughout the entire contest. Even though he is listed at a generous 6'3, Moore played far bigger than his size would indicate. He was willing to score in a variety of ways. Moore posted up against his defenders and backed them down, while he also stepped out to hit three point shots on occasion. In general, Moore was fairly physical and embraced body contact going to the basket. On the defensive end, he possessed good lateral quickness and was able to switch against bigger players during some of UCLA's high screen plays. Overall, Moore is one of the more clutch mid major guards that is capable of willing his team to victory. In this contest, he hit critical shots to allow Irvine to stay in the game.